SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Mary Edly-Allen, D-Libertyville, recently advanced legislation in the House to allow children under 18 years of age who have been victims of violent crimes to use service and support dogs in court.
“Testifying in court is an intimidating and traumatic experience for anyone who has experienced or witnessed a crime. That fear and trauma is amplified when that victim is a child,” Edly-Allen said. “My bill gives children the ability to have the comfort of a service dog that has been specially trained to support victims of trauma. Something as simple as having that service animal as a comfort and a crutch can help to minimize the re-traumatization a child goes through when they bravely give testimony in court.”
Current law allows for the use of service dogs when children are testifying in sexual assault cases. Edly-Allen’s House Bill 5580 expands current law to include a variety of violent crimes including domestic battery, stalking, any felony involving use or threat of force, pornography and violations of orders of protections. The legislation passed the House Judiciary – Criminal Committee with unanimous bipartisan support and will be considered by the full House in the coming weeks.
Visit Rep. Mary Edly-Allen’s website
235-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
1585 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Libertyville, IL 60048